New funding for research infrastructure

Published 19 November 2008

Southern Cross University will share in close to $2 million in funding for critical research infrastructure and equipment announced yesterday (November 18), by Senator Kim Carr, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Southern Cross University is a partner with other universities in two successful bids for collaborative infrastructure - each worth $950,000. It has also received a grant of $220,000 for a project based at SCU.

The first collaborative project involves funding for the latest technology in DNA sequencing for use in biological, medical, agriculture, environmental and evolutionary genetics research.

Professor Robert Henry, director of the Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics, said together with funding from the collaborating institutions the total project would be worth $2 million, with one facility to be established at SCU’s Lismore campus and the other at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

“This is a very significant achievement for us and an importance piece of infrastructure which will allow us to continue to attract research funding,” Professor Henry said.

The second collaborative project, also worth $950,000, is in the area of geochemistry and is designed to contribute to studies of global climate change. Southern Cross University’s Centre for Earth Systems Science is one of the partners in this project, which will provide access to new technology for palaeoclimate and archaeological research.

Professor Bill Boyd, a member of the research team, said this technology, to be used for dating sediments, would provide new insights into environmental change.

“We know for example that sea levels have gone up and down over time. If you can understand how that has operated in the past you are better placed to react to it in the future. The same applies to rainfall and temperature changes,” Professor Boyd said.

Southern Cross University has also received $220,000 for the development of a facility, the first of its kind in Australia, to assist in the measurement and modelling of different elements in the environment. To be housed at the Lismore campus, this facility will allow ground-breaking research in the area of climate change, coastal estuaries, soil loss and salinity and acidity. The project will be led by Professor Bradley Eyre.

Professor Neal Ryan, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), said the funding for these three projects was a real indication of the calibre of research being done at Southern Cross University.

“This is part of a national move towards collaborative research and universities working together. We are delighted that Southern Cross University is playing such an integral part in these projects,” Professor Ryan said.

Media contact: Brigid Veale Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.